Breastfeeding is Welcome Where?

“Breastfeeding is the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life”, said Shannon Berquist, mentor mom for B.I.B.S -- Breast is Best Social, and mom of Murphy. Berquist and I met to chat about the “Breastfeeding welcome here” window clings I’ve spotted around businesses in the community. After chatting for hours about this mom-made wonderfood, it seems as though there are more than just perks for mom and baby – business owners, employees and other patrons benefit too.

For the past 70+ years, new moms have been “booby trapped™” by social, cultural and institutional barriers (www.bestforbabes.org), e.g. negative comments; inadequate support by family, friends, the community; formula advertising, etc. Human babies need their mother’s milk to reach their greatest health and intellectual potential; the majority of people know this. So why are so many mothers still being “booby trapped?” Outward support by businesses is one way to turn these social, cultural, and institutional barriers into opportunities: support for moms and a boost for businesses.

I’m not a certified economist by any means, but it looks like breastfeeding is the ultimate economic stimulus package: it’s free which leaves more money for mothers to spend at Lawrence businesses (over $150 savings per month over formula feeding not to mention big savings on healthcare costs), convenient so it requires no planning for those spontaneous lunches with other mothers, environmentally friendly, and reduces noise pollution from crying babies in public places. Reduced noise pollution and more money flowing into the local economy equals happy customers and business owners. In addition, businesses who stand up for breastfeeding patrons tend to also support their breastfeeding employees which is definitely good for business. Mothers who are able to continue breastfeeding after returning to work tend to be more productive, take less sick-leave and have lower healthcare costs.

Breastfeeding is a tremendous boost to a baby‘s and mother’s lifelong health. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Formula fed babies are more likely to suffer from infections, constipation and other tummy troubles, allergies, childhood diabetes and obesity.

Berquist, who is currently breastfeeding her son, promotes the “Breastfeeding welcome here” window clings to help break down the barriers for other mothers who want to breastfeed but fear public sneers and negative comments. Businesses throughout the Lawrence community have the opportunity to show their support and help implement the Kansas law that all women have the right to breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.

Here is a list of some current supporters:

  • Doodlebugs, 816 Massachusetts St.
  • Global Café, 820 Massachusetts St.
  • Great Harvest, 807 Vermont St.
  • Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St.
  • Local Burger, 714 Vermont St.
  • La Prima Tazza, 638 Massachusetts St.

Feel empowered to breastfeed in public or cling your businesses window? Contact Jennifer Church at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department at 785.856.5334 or email jchurch@ldchealth.org

B.I.B.S -- Breast is Best Social, an initiative of the Lawrence Douglas County Health Department, meets every Wednesday at 6:30pm at the Community Health Facility on 200 Maine in the Health Department waiting room. It’s a great way to share your breastfeeding stories, learn and create a great support group!

Tagged: Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department

Comments

Karrey Britt 2 years, 5 months ago

Great information! Thanks the post!

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JayhawksandHerd 2 years, 5 months ago

FYI, the caption under the photo reads "Breast is Beast Social."

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JayBerm 2 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, Jayhawksandherd! :)

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Jon Jambor 2 years, 5 months ago

Where is it NOT welcome? If done discretely, no one is even aware that it's happening.

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Christine Anderson 2 years, 5 months ago

Can't help but love the words "booby trapped". I nursed my now 23 yr. old until she was 18 months old. Shocking to some, but in her dad's country it is not uncommon to breastfeed for the first two years My mother was mortified that I chose breastfeeding at all. My grandmother thought it was the greatest thing ever. Guess that reflects different generations' attitudes toward breast vs. bottle feeding. The time to wean came suddenly when, in a public place, my daughter walked up to me and yelled, "Boobies, please!"

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Charlie Bryan 2 years, 5 months ago

Near the bottom of the article, the author mentions the "Kansas law that all women have the right to breastfeed in any place she has a right to be." Thanks for providing the link to the state statute.

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patgilbey1 2 years, 5 months ago

Nursing a baby at Sigler Pharmacy is always welcome. Most moms are very discreet and you would never know it. Go moms, nurse your babies!!!

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Jon Jambor 2 years, 5 months ago

It is NOT and important issue. It's just more vapid "feel-good-ism".

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KEITHMILES05 2 years, 5 months ago

Such a silly non-issue. My goodness.

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Marilyn Hull 2 years, 5 months ago

I can assure you, it is a real issue for some women. Many years ago, I started a new job a few months after giving birth. The company was not supportive of breastfeeding. I had to secretly pump in a bathroom stall and flush the milk down the toilet. That was natural, nutritious milk my son never got.

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patkindle 2 years, 5 months ago

women have been nursing for centuries it has never been a problem before

why is is become such an issue?

except this lawrence, never mind

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bhs1999 2 years, 4 months ago

Those of you who feel this is a non issue, have you nursed a baby in public recently? The looks you get from people, even when you making sure everything is all covered and no one could possibly see a thing, is rude. I personally like the window clings or signs that are up and hope more places in town put them up! Electric pumps are fast and perhaps more efficient way to express milk with away from your baby, in my opinion, and employers don't always have a space for employees to do that privately. In the bathroom is sometimes an option. Again for those who feel it is a non issue, would you pour yourself or your child a glass of milk/juice/pop etc. in a bathroom and drink it? Household budgets are getting tighter and tighter. Breast feeding and cloth diapering are becoming popular again. Everyone needs to embrace the change and not be shocked, stare and or make rude comments when they see a woman feeding her child.

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ldchealth 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks so much for your comment. It sounds like you have personal experience of breastfeeding in public — perhaps the most important perspective in this discussion. Thanks also for supporting the campaign. The Health Department will host a special training for employers and HR managers later this month on the "Business Case for Breastfeeding." We will have more info out on it tomorrow!

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